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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 10:42 GMT
Nintendo warns of Wii shortages
Man playing a Wii game
The physical element of Wii gaming has helped make it popular
A chronic shortage of Nintendo's popular Wii console could mean disappointment for those putting it at the top of their Christmas list.

The BBC has learned that high street retailers are struggling to keep up with demand for the console, which has been in short supply for months.

Websites such as Wii-consoles.co.uk have been set up to help shoppers find out when stock becomes available.

Nintendo said it was "doing everything possible" to keep up with demand.

Its push to fill the shelves in time for Christmas will see it ship an extra 3.5 million consoles globally. It is not known how many extra consoles will make it to UK shelves.

In April Nintendo estimated a yearly shipment of 14m units, but that has now been raised to 17.5m.

Despite this, the gaming giant admitted that not everyone who wants one is guaranteed a Wii this Christmas.

The video games market is a fiercely competitive one and it is not in our interest to withhold stock from anyone
Nintendo spokesman

"The demand for Wii hardware globally has been unprecedented and higher than Nintendo could ever have anticipated," said a spokeswoman.

"Nintendo is now in a position in which seasonality demand trends are being broken, therefore the demand for Wii hardware is constant throughout the whole year globally. Due to this phenomenon it is possible that the demand for Wii hardware may outstrip supply," she said.

Slow trickle

From the high street, the message is very similar.

"Although we're receiving regular deliveries from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft and getting the products onto the shelves as fast as we can - it's possible that demand will outstrip supplies on some products, for example the Nintendo Wii, which has been hugely popular all through the year," read a statement from high street gaming specialist Game.

"We're posting daily updates on our website at www.game.co.uk/stock to give customers the latest news on availability, and will continue to do everything possible to help our customers find the consoles they want."

Woolworths said that it was receiving a "slow trickle of stock every week" and also advised customers to keep an eye on their website.

"The Nintendo Wii consoles have proved extremely popular with our customers and have been flying off the shelves whenever we get new stock in," said a spokeswoman.

Website meltdown

As a result of the huge demand, prices are beginning to be hiked, especially among smaller retailers with larger retailers bundling the console with several games.

"It is very hard to buy a Wii console now without two or three games bundled in with it, which can push the price up to around the 300 mark," said Darren McKillop, the man behind Wii-consoles.co.uk.

Mr McKillop said that when stock did come in retailers were struggling to cope with the flood of traffic on their websites.

"In some cases their ordering systems let them down and they end up taking orders for stock they don't have and yesterday a major online retailer announced they had the Wii in stock and their website suffered a virtual meltdown as half the country tried to buy a Wii from them," he said.

Wii-consoles.co.uk had seen a five-fold increase in traffic since the last Wii shortages at the beginning of the year, said Mr McKillop.

He predicted the stock shortages would last well into the new year.


Your comments:

I have just purchased a Nintendo WII after trying to get one locally without success. Amazon Germany is the place I got it from - it took 4 days to deliver and I only paid 180. Fantastic!
Julie Dearlove, Leeds, England

I spent the last week or so trying to find a Wii for my son for Christmas calling in on every store and website eventually found one on Amazon by using their alert system and managed to buy one last night for 179, I am thrilled as this Christmas I will be Super Mummy!
Karen Hurt, Windlesham, Surrey, England

I work for a major supermarket and about four or five times every shift I get asked about Wii's and I am not really sure if we can get them. But it seems that customers I deal with are not too upset about the possibility of not getting one. This happens every year and the companies such as Sony and Nintendo know they can sell this many but don't seem to up production that much.
Mat A, Penryn, Cornwall

I had no problem getting a Wii for Christmas, as Amazon in France and Germany have stock of the base console without any bundled extras I didn't want. They have had supplies for at least a week. It only cost 6 Euros to ship it, less than it would cost me to go and park in town. There are plenty of consoles, just in the hands of speculators, check eBay for how many are for sale.
Mark Hayden, Reading, Berkshire

I ended up buying one from amazon.de purely because I was told that Europe was getting all the Wiis for Christmas and the UK wasn't getting many. The thing about the Wii is that it's a fun console that everyone can enjoy - hope as many people manage to get one though!
Anne, Edinburgh

I work at a general electrical retailer, and usually 3 of 5 customers ask me for Wiis. We normally just get allocated 5 consoles per week to sell and usually they're sold as soon as they get off the delivery truck!
Alex, Salisbury

Having planned ahead and purchased my Wii in September. I have sympathy for those suffering at the hands of unscrupulous retailers. Does anyone know if there is a similar shortage of Wii games?
David, Fife, Scotland

We ordered a Wii from NEXT for home delivery in early September, and were quoted 3 weeks delivery time. We are still waiting. Next have not been good at keeping us informed as to what the current situation is.
Kenny Millar, Kirkintilloch, Scotland

Me and my boyfriend had been searching for a Wii for the past couple of weeks for his sons Christmas present, we couldn't find them anywhere, shops would get 20 in but they would go within 5 minutes. We looked into eBay, but the price was so high...we also looked into buying one though Amazon, Germany, but we don't have a credit card so couldn't. I went to stay with a relative in France and picked one up straight away, same price and all we needed to buy was an English plug. It has taken the stress out of Christmas because the main present has been ticked off the wish list.
Corinne Tutton, Woking

I bought mine in Luxembourg last month. They had loads in Auchan - and it was cheaper than most of them over here. Worth a day trip probably!
Fifitrix04, Tonbridge, Kent

Found it impossible to get Wii in High Street stores and other retailers. Thank goodness for good old eBay, where we got a unit, sports pack and accessories for less than shop prices. It took bidding on a few to get one, but we did it. Wii now received, and having a great time with it.
Jacqui, Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire

I heard about the shortage from a friend in October. After several failed attempts to get my hands on one via the internet, I managed to secure one from Dixons on line. It came within a week and I paid 179 plus 5 delivery.
Michelle Morgan, Billingham

I wanted one for Christmas, but if they are in short supply. I can imagine the prices are going to rocket the closer it gets to the big day so think I will put off until the new year when supply over takes demand and hopefully save myself a few pennies.
Henry, North Wales

When ever a 'new' toy or gaming console comes out, I feel the makers and retailers deliberately say that not enough have been produced in order to charge more and to 'panic' customers. The makers know it is popular but have failed to make enough. I wouldn't buy one on principle now even if I succeeded in getting to the front of the queue. People are paying over the odds for them especially as they will be cheaper in a few months.
Sian Harrington, Port Talbot

I have been trying to get a Wii for a month now, as a present for my boyfriend. I have two shops telling me when they have stock and I'm in constant contact with them, but it looks as if he's going to be very disappointed on Xmas morning...
Amanda Dale, Buxton, Derbyshire

I know where there is a massive stock of Wii consoles. It's called the north pole....and everyone should sit tight until Santa delivers them on Christmas Eve!
Jason Robards, Exeter

I've tried for weeks to get a Wii Console and luckily I managed to get one a couple of days ago online. I do think that this is a self full-filling prophecy though. By saying there are shortages, people are panicked in to buying one now ... which in turn is causing shortages. However, I can understand the panic ... I couldn't risk not getting one for the kids this Xmas
Phil Hindley, Manchester

I grabbed my Wii out in Ho Chi Minh City, it' in Japanese but there's no shortage here. I didn't have to buy it 'bundled' with any games either.
Robbie, Vietnam

After endless hours spent trying to track the console down, including visiting a website that gave up to the minute stock information, I ended up paying almost 300 for the console that I should have been able to get for 175 out of Argos. I got it from an online company. Still can't get my head around why they had the consoles and no one else did. It was a gift for the whole family to enjoy which is how I justified it to myself. It is a brilliant gaming experience and was worth the money in my opinion.
d=Debbie Pugh, Linton Cambridgeshire

I ordered a Wii mid October for my son. The retailer now cannot guarantee delivery for Xmas. I have had to explain to my son that he may not get the Wii he has been desperate for, for months. I checked out the prices on Amazon and seven retailers have stock but prices for the console and Wii sports start at 369. I am disgusted at those who are cashing in on the shortage and angry that Nintendo have failed to plan for Xmas demand. I also wonder if Nintendo have done this on purpose to push up prices as the difference between their console and the new PS3 is quite significant. Rather than pay inflated prices, I'll wait until after Xmas to buy.
Michelle, Cupar, Fife, Scotland


SEE ALSO
Q&A: Wii shortages
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